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Murder Most Unladylike

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1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't.) But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disapp 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't.) But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder, and prove a murder has happened in the first place before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


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1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't.) But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disapp 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't.) But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder, and prove a murder has happened in the first place before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

30 review for Murder Most Unladylike

  1. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    The language in the American version has been Americanized. I read maybe two pages and couldn't take it, it's so pervasive. I can see modifying the spelling (maybe), but it's completely altered so that it sounds like it's taking place in modern America. (The girls are in 7th grade, etc). I'm going to have to try to get the UK version somehow because it's all wrong! I think it's a shame. Shouldn't American kids have a chance to realize that things are different in other parts of the world, and in The language in the American version has been Americanized. I read maybe two pages and couldn't take it, it's so pervasive. I can see modifying the spelling (maybe), but it's completely altered so that it sounds like it's taking place in modern America. (The girls are in 7th grade, etc). I'm going to have to try to get the UK version somehow because it's all wrong! I think it's a shame. Shouldn't American kids have a chance to realize that things are different in other parts of the world, and in other time periods? They might find it exotic. Interesting. Eye-opening. I know when I was a kid, I loved books like that. I never went to boarding school in 1930s England, but I can still imagine it, and the language is part of the ambiance. Kids can handle completely imaginary worlds with words that never existed before. How condescending to think that they are incapable of understanding a slightly different version of English. This just seems like dumbing down to me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    Well say hello to a combination of Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars and Blyton's boarding school books. Add to that a touch of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot and you've got it made! Only this time it is 1934. Thirteen-year-old girls Hazel Wong(from Hong Kong) and Daisy Wells (from the English upper classes) have formed their own secret club, the Wells and Wong Detective Society at the Deepdean School for Girls in England. They are quite successful in digging up secrets from everybody in school, with Well say hello to a combination of Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars and Blyton's boarding school books. Add to that a touch of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot and you've got it made! Only this time it is 1934. Thirteen-year-old girls Hazel Wong(from Hong Kong) and Daisy Wells (from the English upper classes) have formed their own secret club, the Wells and Wong Detective Society at the Deepdean School for Girls in England. They are quite successful in digging up secrets from everybody in school, with Daisy the number one snoop. She is the perfect English girl, highly popular, and knows everything about everyone and she's good at it. Hazel Wong is her side-kick, initially the quiet, polite one, meticulously clean and precise in everything she did. Until she discovered the secret to melt into the mass of girls in the school. Sloppiness and less-clean appearances were expected. It was the secret of the rich girls in school. Never show wealth! Whatever you were, never strive to be the brightest girl in class either! Mediocrity is the name of the game. Fake it. Act. Be good at it. Hazel was not only extremely intelligent, she also turned out to be the second best pretender in school. Daisy was the best. And that is the reason why they became the best of friends. Prestige, honor, and tradition draw the best of the best to the school. Teachers were strictly selected for positions at the school. It was just the perfect set-up. Life was perfect. But then Miss Bell was no longer at the school. She resigned, was the official announcement. Hazel knew better. She found Miss Bell's body in the gym, went for help, and when she returned, the body was gone! The Wells and Wong Detective Society had suddenly their work cut out for them and they had to act fast to prevent the murderer from getting away with it. But oh dear, for every murder there is a murderer, and more skeletons appear out of nowhere in the closets! What to do!? COMMENTS: Hazel Wong is the young narrator of the tale and never ceases to keep up the lively, vivid energy of two thirteen-year-old girls. There's nothing childish about the story. The prose is funny, witty, innocent, wise. I constantly smiled and sniggered for the actions of these two ambitious girls and their dorm mates. I loved this whodunit. The drama managed to keep me totally immersed in the atmosphere of the time, the labyrinth of suspects, the guessing of motives and the neverending suspense. The other reason why I loved this book, is because I attended a similar girls school. I felt so at home in the halls and dorms of the age old buildings and its occupiers. I totally identified with the characters. It was a superb trip down memory lane. Even the church pipe organ in the hall of Deepdean School for Girls was familiar. Overall I am of the opinion that this book is just as enjoyable for grown-ups as it is for teenage girls. Well-written, well-plotted and well-done. The ARC was made available by Simon & Schuster through edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com for review. Thank you for the opportunity. What a delight!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alice, as in Wonderland

    My issue with this book starts and ends with Daisy. As a very obvious Sherlock Holmes fan, I'm going to take a gander and guess that the author really enjoys Sherlock and not Elementary, because Elementary is a show about a steadfast partnership that might not have gotten off on the most perfect of starts but evolves into a friendship that is as equal and understanding of each other's faults and assets. I can tell that this author watches Sherlock because Daisy is Sherlock. Right down from her a My issue with this book starts and ends with Daisy. As a very obvious Sherlock Holmes fan, I'm going to take a gander and guess that the author really enjoys Sherlock and not Elementary, because Elementary is a show about a steadfast partnership that might not have gotten off on the most perfect of starts but evolves into a friendship that is as equal and understanding of each other's faults and assets. I can tell that this author watches Sherlock because Daisy is Sherlock. Right down from her absolute arrogance, and her lack of mind for consequences - largely because she clearly grew up in an environment thoroughly lacking them, which is supposed to, I guess, make me feel sympathy for her, except that it merely makes me feel like she's an upper class privileged little miss. She's smart but she pretends to be not. She's rich, impulsive, that magical perfectly gifted level of intelligent that all Holmes and Holmes-archetypes these days now suffer, and never suffers emotional consequences of her actions and feels little to remorse manipulating and constantly abusing someone she apparently calls a friend, and uses her quite often merely as an errand girl, and gets away with it because Hazel is so starry-eyed for Daisy, whether she is angry at her or not, that she is unable to resist. God, it is quite literally as though the show Sherlock was imposed on this book, it's awful. It's such a horrible representation of a friendship that is damaging, but it's okay because hey, she apologizes once, right? The second half of this book is only bearable because of it, and even then Daisy exhibits clear privilege and dominance over Hazel. The argument between the two of them in the book infuriated me, because again, the friendship feels entirely not like a friendship, as opposed a partial worship of an immigrant who understood and understands the immediate status quo of her, an Asian in a European country, and what is literally a white, blonde, blue-eyed girl. It is heart breaking to me, an Asian girl, to see my childhood rather well illustrated, but with none of the emotional and mature growth of me eventually realizing that this couldn't stand, that to consider white people better than me in an inherent fashion because they get the stories and the films - I picked this book up because an Asian girl was in it. And the book immediately starts with Hazel more or less being subservient to Daisy, talking about how she's happy to be the Watson. Not the Watson of Elementary, or even of Doyle's Holmes, who, in his different way, is respected and revered by Holmes, to the point that Holmes admits that Watson's knowledge of his actual profession (medicine) is equal/exceeds his own. The whole book I was desperately hoping that it turns out that Hazel is right, and that they abolish "Secretary" and "President" entirely, but only some of that happens, and it's certainly not enough. I certainly don't bloody understand why Hazel feels the need to apologize, and the scene is presented as though it's two friends understanding the error of their ways when it's pretty clearly been Daisy. Daisy shuts Hazel down. Daisy continually dismisses Hazel's totally valid fear of BEING MURDERED. Daisy is in fact Hazel's bully, according to their first meeting - AND THIS HARDLY CHANGES. Probably I am one of few people who view the relationship (and the whole general show) of Sherlock to be frustrating, and definitely not a depiction of people who actually are friends. But if you do, then I guess you'd like this book. I'd probably give this a berth if you're Asian as well, because god, we already deal with this in day to day life, why would you subject yourself to more of it here, where it actually doesn't reach a point where you understand that white people are not inherently more interesting for their whiteness and just stays in a miserable status quo where having a basic modicum of decency leveled at you is the best you can ask for? I'm going to go watch Elementary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    A thoroughly enjoyable and promising start to a middle grade mystery series! Daisy and Hazel are students at Deepdean School for Girls and run their own Detective agency. One day, Hazel comes across the body of one of her teachers, and after going for help, discovers the body has gone! Not only do Daisy and Hazel have to solve the murder mystery, but they have to prove that a murder happened in the first place. This was a fast read and so easy to fall into, making it such an enjoyable reading expe A thoroughly enjoyable and promising start to a middle grade mystery series! Daisy and Hazel are students at Deepdean School for Girls and run their own Detective agency. One day, Hazel comes across the body of one of her teachers, and after going for help, discovers the body has gone! Not only do Daisy and Hazel have to solve the murder mystery, but they have to prove that a murder happened in the first place. This was a fast read and so easy to fall into, making it such an enjoyable reading experience. I've never read a middle grade murder mystery and I wasn't sure how it was going to work, but I found myself rather riveted by the events and I was questioning throughout who did it and where the story was going to go. There were enough turns to keep this story interesting to the end. I really liked Hazel and seeing it all in her perspective. Daisy was rather insufferable and I didn't like the way she would treat Hazel sometimes. But at the same time, Daisy can be so supportive and encouraging to Hazel, so I was confused by how I felt about Daisy. I think it will be interesting to see where her character goes from here because I think there is still a lot more to learn about her. Either way, Daisy and Hazel make a brilliant team together. I only ever hear great things about the rest of the series so I am very excited to read more of Wells and Wong. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie who want to venture into middle grade.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennybeast

    Oh, I'm so torn! I liked this book. I liked the story and the characters -- yay for kid British sleuths, yay for a smart, Asian girl main character. But. This is so very much an American's version of a British school -- the author is constantly going out of the way to explain words to us and then even includes a glossary at the end -- that is overkill, and it feels like a condescending voice in the middle of the story "educating" the audience, since we're too dumb too know what she's talking abou Oh, I'm so torn! I liked this book. I liked the story and the characters -- yay for kid British sleuths, yay for a smart, Asian girl main character. But. This is so very much an American's version of a British school -- the author is constantly going out of the way to explain words to us and then even includes a glossary at the end -- that is overkill, and it feels like a condescending voice in the middle of the story "educating" the audience, since we're too dumb too know what she's talking about. Kids are more sophisticated than that. If you use the terms in context, the kids will figure it out. If you want to include a glossary afterwards, that's great -- but you don't need both. And there are a lot of British boarding school books out there. This book? Is not inventing the genre, so does not need to explain all the words. No British school system uses grades. They use the word Form and the numbering system is completely different from American schools. It's glaring, especially given how pedantic the writer is about using authentic terminology in other places. Either it's a British boarding school or it isn't. Make up your mind. Hazel is great as a character, except for the self-hate thing. Despite the fact that she is a plucky, intelligent girl, she constantly describes herself as fat and unappealing and uses words that emphasize how bad she feels about herself, in contrast to her lovely, perfectly English friend of the beautiful blue eyes and blonde, blonde hair. Really? The stereotyping is over the top, Daisy is a bully, and at no point in the story is there any indication that Hazel is wrong to feel that way about herself. I'm not sure if I'm annoyed or delighted with the frequent references to lesbianism -- on the whole, I think it's kind of cool that it is blatant in this story -- between teachers, between older girls, and in the pashes that girls have on one another -- but I think that may be part of why the book isn't reading as British to me -- all of those elements would be in a British version of this story, sure, but they would be more subtle, not openly acknowledged. Is this meant to be present-day? If so, then the open acceptance of homosexuality would be a lovely and refreshing thing. Since it doesn't seem like it, that doesn't really work. That's the other hazy thing. When is this book meant to take place? Clearly the fashion is for cloche hats. They have automobiles, and women live independently. Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie are known writers. However, there is a huge stigma on out-of-wedlock children, and teachers can be dismissed for marrying, so I don't know. It's really unclear, and I think that leads to some of my confusion about all the rest of the things. Aaaaand I see now that it's supposed to be 1934. Nope. I don't buy that even a little bit. The plot is great, the characters are endearing. If someone would edit this book with an eye towards specificity, it might be worth recommending. And I'm sorry for being so harsh about it, but my disappointment is the keener for enjoying the book as much as I did. Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    This started off as a 5 star read. This predates A Girl Called Justice and I could see how much this book had inspired Elly Griffith's A Girl Called Justice in many ways and we were so please this book, unlike the Justice books had plenty of slang words and references to the time period it was set in. Unfortunately the US version has had all these words replaced by US terms which would completely ruin it for me, luckily I read a UK version. After a great start this became way too drawn out, too This started off as a 5 star read. This predates A Girl Called Justice and I could see how much this book had inspired Elly Griffith's A Girl Called Justice in many ways and we were so please this book, unlike the Justice books had plenty of slang words and references to the time period it was set in. Unfortunately the US version has had all these words replaced by US terms which would completely ruin it for me, luckily I read a UK version. After a great start this became way too drawn out, too much recapping of who were suspects etc but there were many interesting elements and storylines, if it had been shorter it would have been much more enjoyable for us. Some interesting characters, we enjoyed the character of Hazel but found her friendship with the bossy and overly perfect Daisy slightly dissapointing although probably a realistic portrayal of friendship of the time between a wealthy English girl and a newly arrived Asian girl, I hope their friendship developes on more equal terms in future books. We guessed the murderer early on but it was fun to find clues. We did appreciate the attention to detail of the period of history the story was set in, I've no idea why the publishers would feel the need to get rid of this big plus point of the story for the US reader.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    This review is for the edition I read, the edition published specifically for readers in the United States. The title was changed from the originally published English edition. The original title is Murder Most Unladylike. Much of the vocabulary in the story has also been Americanized from the original British English. I hate when this is done. When I’m reading an English boarding school story I want to feel as though it is taking place in England. Readers are being underestimated in what they’l This review is for the edition I read, the edition published specifically for readers in the United States. The title was changed from the originally published English edition. The original title is Murder Most Unladylike. Much of the vocabulary in the story has also been Americanized from the original British English. I hate when this is done. When I’m reading an English boarding school story I want to feel as though it is taking place in England. Readers are being underestimated in what they’ll be able to understand. Especially in modern times it is very, very easy to look up words, school grades, etc. British English to American English. I do not want that done for me. Some of the joy for us readers in the United States is to feel immersed in the culture from other countries, and I like the original vocabulary from the UK, England, Australia, etc. when I read a book with events taking place in those countries just as I like regional dialect when reading about different states/areas within the United States. My enjoyment was diminished because of the changes made. Also, the events were supposed to be taking place in the 1930s but except for one aspect of the mystery, a very few references, a phrase or two, and the lack of computers, cell phones, etc. it could have been taking place at many times. There was no good sense of place. Also, it was not a page-turner for me. It dragged at times. I had to rush to finish it before my library e-copy came due. I was surprised at how scary I found it at times. It was not a cozy mystery (although there was no violence on the page) and it didn’t have that much humor in it. As I read I thought I had most of it figured out. I was wrong. I did like the narrator Hazel. She was the best thing about the book for me. The other half of the friendship pair Dairy kind of gave me the creeps but there were good things about her and their friendship story was interesting. I felt like either an idiot or a heroine for finishing this. My goal is to read only 5 star and 4 star books and I could tell not too, too far into the book that I would rate this book either 3 or 2 stars, and not 5 or 4. I would have liked it a bit more had I read it as a kid and I think I would have liked it a lot more had I read the U.K. edition. I found the book to be disappointing. 2-1/2 stars. I did like it but it took me forever to read it because I struggled to get through it. It’s hard for me to choose 3 stars (I liked it) or 2 stars (It was okay.) (I think 3-1/2 stars had I been able to read the UK edition and possibly 4 stars had I read it at ages 9-11.) I wont read more books in the series unless I can find UK editions. I just looked through my list (not that many) of 2 star rated books and this book is better than most of them so I am rounding up even though I think I’m being generous.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Middle Grade Monthly pick for June 2020. An interesting little cosy middle grade mystery that isn't without its problems. It's a story of Sherlock and Holmes for the younger reader as we join school friends Daisy and Hazel as they try to unlock the mysteries surrounding a teacher's untimely demise. I found Daisy quite irritating as a character. She's an awful friend, often bullying Hazel into doing things she doesn't want to do and being rather unsympathetic towards her peers in her pursuit of a Middle Grade Monthly pick for June 2020. An interesting little cosy middle grade mystery that isn't without its problems. It's a story of Sherlock and Holmes for the younger reader as we join school friends Daisy and Hazel as they try to unlock the mysteries surrounding a teacher's untimely demise. I found Daisy quite irritating as a character. She's an awful friend, often bullying Hazel into doing things she doesn't want to do and being rather unsympathetic towards her peers in her pursuit of answers. She's bossy and arrogant, which contrasts harshly with Hazel's underdog status as the new 'foreign' girl at the school. I would have loved the roles to have been reversed. Why can't we have more Asian main characters who are full of life, intelligent and don't have to hide it behind a white, blonde girl? Which leads me rather neatly into my other issue, which is the odd message I think this tries to present to young readers regarding xenophobia. I get that it's historical, people though differently of minority ethnicities in the past, but I still found some of the choice of wording quite odd and, to be honest, it made me uncomfortable. The story didn't really try to address why Hazel experienced this behaviour towards her, and explain how it wasn't ok. The plot and pacing are reasonably good, and the mystery is tied up neatly by the end, but I just found it all a bit lacking in substance. There's no much there beyond the girls finding clues and making rather fortunate discoveries or being in the right place at the right time. There's a lot of telling, without allowing the reader to form their own opinions and ideas. Yes, I know it's a middle grade, but children are actually pretty smart. Especially ones who read. There's also no suspense or atmosphere, and as such I wasn't particularly invested in what happened. I struggled to finish this, and it's only a short book. Also, it doesn't feel authentic. I'd rather read some Mallory Towers. Interesting premise for a middle grade, but this lacks some of the grit and intrigue needed to thrive and hold my attention. I also can't get past the off hand casual xenophobia towards Hazel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Darling

    We unveiled the U.S./Canadian cover for MURDER IS BAD MANNERS today at The Midnight Garden! "Half of the magic of Harry Potter comes from Hogwarts, after all, and I lived the closest thing to Hogwarts there is." ~ Robin Stevens The author tells us about how her own boarding school experience helped to shape this cozy murder mystery set in the 1930s, plus we have an early ARC giveaway! We unveiled the U.S./Canadian cover for MURDER IS BAD MANNERS today at The Midnight Garden! "Half of the magic of Harry Potter comes from Hogwarts, after all, and I lived the closest thing to Hogwarts there is." ~ Robin Stevens The author tells us about how her own boarding school experience helped to shape this cozy murder mystery set in the 1930s, plus we have an early ARC giveaway!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elevetha

    I can't complain, as far as just mystery goes. It was fascinating, because there was so much misdirection that I honestly completely neglected to notice the obvious clues as to whom was the murderer. Cleverly written, I'll say that. However, I found Daisy and Hazel's friendship to be problematic. Daisy manipulates and pushes Hazel around, also placing herself as more important and belittling Hazel's place in their detective "agency" , and Hazel is just so desperate to be friends with her that she I can't complain, as far as just mystery goes. It was fascinating, because there was so much misdirection that I honestly completely neglected to notice the obvious clues as to whom was the murderer. Cleverly written, I'll say that. However, I found Daisy and Hazel's friendship to be problematic. Daisy manipulates and pushes Hazel around, also placing herself as more important and belittling Hazel's place in their detective "agency" , and Hazel is just so desperate to be friends with her that she allows Daisy to do all of this. Now that is not the problem. This is probably a very common real-world problem that needs to be addressed. And Daisy does come to recognize that she needs to treat Hazel better, assure her and confirm that she is an important part of their "agency", and even start being Hazel's friend rather than idol. All well and good, but what IS the problem I found here is that even though all this happens, it's done so poorly, I couldn't believe that Daisy really changed. Her character development as regarding her friendship with Hazel felt fake, flat, and forced because it was too quick, like flicking a switch. And the other thing that really brought this down was the bi/lesbian teachers and schoolgirls literally everywhere. I mean, everywhere. And not only everywhere, but constantly mentioned. Like, no. A. This is a kid's book, and the fact that there was a bi/lesbian/straight love triangle is bad enough for an adult to be subjected to and B. I refuse to believe that apparently nearly all the members of this whole damn boarding school are lesbian. Not even mentioning the fact that IF they were, the book is set in the 1930's and, historically speaking, they would have tried harder to hide it, and IF it was discovered and mentioned, it wouldn't have been done nearly so favorably/blasely. Anyways. I can't believe I remembered all that as well as I did. It's been a whole 3 months!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    representation: Chinese MC, dyslexic side character. [trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers] ★★★.5 This was fun but I definitely had to suspend my disbelief a lot! As if they wouldn't be absolutely shitting buckets if people kept getting murdered around them. Instead they were OMG LET'S INVESTIGATE THIS IS SOOO FUN. lol wtf. It was a fun historical mystery that kept me guessing, none the less! trigger warnings: murder (obviously lol), brief mention of suic representation: Chinese MC, dyslexic side character. [trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers] ★★★.5 This was fun but I definitely had to suspend my disbelief a lot! As if they wouldn't be absolutely shitting buckets if people kept getting murdered around them. Instead they were OMG LET'S INVESTIGATE THIS IS SOOO FUN. lol wtf. It was a fun historical mystery that kept me guessing, none the less! trigger warnings: murder (obviously lol), brief mention of suicide, brief mention of drowning, racism, lots of stereotyping, fat shaming, vomiting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    This was just a whole book of fun. It had a murder mystery, of course, was set in a border school and had a POC narrator! What more could you ask for? I loved the atmosphere and the 1930s setting (despite the what would now be considered politically incorrect terms used in regards to Hazel). I'd love to read the other books in the series, now that the characters have been established, and I'll definitely be scanning my local libraries for the sequel! What an excellent book to ring in the new yea This was just a whole book of fun. It had a murder mystery, of course, was set in a border school and had a POC narrator! What more could you ask for? I loved the atmosphere and the 1930s setting (despite the what would now be considered politically incorrect terms used in regards to Hazel). I'd love to read the other books in the series, now that the characters have been established, and I'll definitely be scanning my local libraries for the sequel! What an excellent book to ring in the new year!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Well this was thoroughly delightful, a well written and entertaining murder mystery with great characterisation. Just such good fun.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    A wonderfully charming crime story accessible to readers of all ages. We are introduced to Daisy and Hazel, two pupils who attended Deepdean School for Girls. They're curious in solving mystery and set up their own detective agency. When Hazel discovers the body of Science Mistress, Miss Bell in the school gym. It gives the girls their first opportunity to try and solve a case. I really liked the time setting of 1930's, it gives a real authentic feel. The author clearly is a fan of Agatha Christie. I A wonderfully charming crime story accessible to readers of all ages. We are introduced to Daisy and Hazel, two pupils who attended Deepdean School for Girls. They're curious in solving mystery and set up their own detective agency. When Hazel discovers the body of Science Mistress, Miss Bell in the school gym. It gives the girls their first opportunity to try and solve a case. I really liked the time setting of 1930's, it gives a real authentic feel. The author clearly is a fan of Agatha Christie. It wouldn't be a crime novel without references to Holmes and Watson either! The fact that the reveal came as a complete surprise made me love this story more, will certainly read the rest in the series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really enjoyed this book! First of all, the whole 1930's setting really appealed to me and I thought that it was pulled off really well. I don't have much knowledge of boarding school for girls in the 30's, but the language the girls were using and the descriptions of the clothes, food and lessons seemed pretty on point to me. I loved the language they used and it was full of 'rathers', and 'frightfuls', and 'shocking good sport' and so on and it just really amused me! It made the world come al I really enjoyed this book! First of all, the whole 1930's setting really appealed to me and I thought that it was pulled off really well. I don't have much knowledge of boarding school for girls in the 30's, but the language the girls were using and the descriptions of the clothes, food and lessons seemed pretty on point to me. I loved the language they used and it was full of 'rathers', and 'frightfuls', and 'shocking good sport' and so on and it just really amused me! It made the world come alive to me. In my head I really could imagine the two main characters of Daisy and Hazel and their lessons. The plot itself was fun as well, the mystery of who murdered the science teacher was fast paced and full of mystery. I liked the added fact that the body went missing as well, so no one knew that there had been a murder. And I didn't guess who the murderer was until the girls themselves realised, so well done to the book for that! I loved the character of Hazel, hearing the story from her point of view was great because you got such a good insight to her. It was interesting to have the added fact that she is from Hong Kong and not at all like a 'typical 1930's English girl,' and to hear how she so wants to be like Daisy and the others is quite heart-breaking. There is subtle racism towards her as she is not English, and I think it is good for children to read this sort of things in books, and hopefully understand that what they are saying is not ok. But it was well done as this issue is not the main focus of the book, and it doesn't take over from the story. Also another issue you can see being raised, is the friendship between Hazel and Daisy. Daisy is a bully, she bullies Hazel into lots of things, and she uses friendship as tool to do it. I'm sure we have all known a 'Daisy' before, who is so good at everything, likes to be in the know, likes to be first, glamourous and so on. But you cannot help but like her as well! Towards the end of the book she does start treating Hazel a bit better, and I hope she continues to be a better friend! I also love the design of the front cover, it is so simple and yet effective! I Love it! All in all, this is a great detective book, with some fantastic characters, a good mystery with an amusing setting! I cannot wait to read the next one!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This was a wonderful, fun read! Murder Most Unladylike gave me serious Sherlock and Watson vibes (which was obviously intentional, since both main characters affectionately call one another "Sherlock" and "Watson"). The only thing stopping me from rating this 5 stars was Daisy: she was really rather arrogant, and spent a lot of the novel manipulating Hazel. That doesn't quite scream friendship to me... This was a wonderful, fun read! Murder Most Unladylike gave me serious Sherlock and Watson vibes (which was obviously intentional, since both main characters affectionately call one another "Sherlock" and "Watson"). The only thing stopping me from rating this 5 stars was Daisy: she was really rather arrogant, and spent a lot of the novel manipulating Hazel. That doesn't quite scream friendship to me...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lidya Amalia Rahmania

    Rating: 3.8/5 This is not retelling of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, instead an inspired by Conan Doyle’s character, imprinted into two young girls from 1934. A timeline before World War I, a rather peaceful time for young adults learning in boarding school typically built across the UK. I like both protagonist’ characterizations. Daisy Wells is a privileged stuck up aristocrat girl with too many admirers. Making her object of the envy of the sidekick, Hazel Wong. Daisy was probably thinking Rating: 3.8/5 This is not retelling of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, instead an inspired by Conan Doyle’s character, imprinted into two young girls from 1934. A timeline before World War I, a rather peaceful time for young adults learning in boarding school typically built across the UK. I like both protagonist’ characterizations. Daisy Wells is a privileged stuck up aristocrat girl with too many admirers. Making her object of the envy of the sidekick, Hazel Wong. Daisy was probably thinking about the murder, and fashionable hats, and who cheated on the math test, all at once, as though she were really three people instead of one. I like how she was being described as a genius but not too harsh like Doyle’s did to Sherlock. Daisy Wells still a delicate girl with too many touchy subjects, she is disillusioned by her capability. Most of the time she dismissed what Hazel had to say. In this case, they are different with Sherlock & Watson even though they would like to address each other as “Sherlock and Watson”. It was this sort of thing that made Daisy so fascinating. Almost all the younger shrimps had pashes on her. (A pash, in case you haven’t heard the word before, is school talk for something that is rather difficult to describe—I suppose it’s being in love, but different somehow, and so quite all right with everyone.) So it’s understandable that Daisy Wells has so many admirers as she is so populer within the clique and school. She knows how to blend with other people, does not act as the smart one, but as the closet ass hole so people would like you. A great lesson to all of us who is struggling to make friend out there. She wanted to seem a fool, and she was pausing or flubbing her responses because she had decided that a particular fact was not something she ought to remember. And I love how Hazel described her admiration to Daisy. Hazel came from Hongkong, with black hair and ebony eyes she has been called “The one who came from The Orient”. Hazel is a logical person yet she still has feelings to guide her instinct. Unlike Daisy, she listens to other people and take their feelings into account. The story of how Hazel Wong to blend in after watching Daisy closely for some time. The Daisy Wells we all pashed on was, in short, not real at all, but a very clever part. I watched her running around, shrieking, turning cartwheels, and looking as though she did not care about anything apart from beating St. Simmonds at lacrosse on Saturday, and I began to see that all the time there was a different Daisy underneath. Daisy Wells is a multifaceted person and she has Hazel Wong to understand her, to nurture her quirkiness and all of her wild deduction. She almost like Sherlock Holmes, the difference only in the hair and physical appearance. Thought, what I like from Daisy, she is not a junkie (because her condition is not allowed to have one). The brown paper parcel was full of lotus-paste moon cakes from our kitchen. They are my favorite food, sweet and heavy on my tongue, like nothing here in England. But all the same, I wish my mother would not send them. Lavinia saw one once, and for weeks after told everyone that I ate heathen pies. I like the humour Hazel made every time Brittons find everything about Asian is weird. Though it’s understandable how white people think about our cuisine, or culture, especially Chinese. Because they are basically everywhere and become a pop culture long before Japanese do. I sat on my strict gray bed and stared around me at the rows of identical bedsteads and the dismally scratchy and gray bedspreads. I was quite upset by the sight of it, and I remember wondering whether Deepdean might not be doing so well for itself after all. (I had not yet discovered that in England, the way of showing that you are very rich is to pretend that you are very poor and cannot afford things like heating or new shoes.) The way she is assesing Brittons behaviour is very amusing. British people are humble yet arrogant in the inside. They like to be perceived as normal people instead flaunting around their money or belongings. Though this case highly unlikely happened these days, but I always like British celebrities always looking so humble.I want to review Robin Stevens’ description about boarding school. I finally know how strict a boarding school in the UK. It was indeed so vexing and probably the main reason why the students went wild once they were out of school. The terms; bunbreak, biscuits, canoodling, maybe not popular in American literary, but Robin used it well in this book. And I love every bit of it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    K.

    I really wanted to like this book, solely because at least half the year 5 and 6 kids at school are OBSESSED with this series, and the past few middle grade books that I've read have been fabulous. Unfortunately, this one fell a little flat for me. Pros - Historical fiction with an Asian protagonist. - It's a middle grade crime series. I mean, how often do you get that?! - Lots of insinuation that two female teachers were in a relationship - Also reference to older girls using supply closets to make I really wanted to like this book, solely because at least half the year 5 and 6 kids at school are OBSESSED with this series, and the past few middle grade books that I've read have been fabulous. Unfortunately, this one fell a little flat for me. Pros - Historical fiction with an Asian protagonist. - It's a middle grade crime series. I mean, how often do you get that?! - Lots of insinuation that two female teachers were in a relationship - Also reference to older girls using supply closets to make out Cons - It's very jolly hockey sticks. Like, VERY jolly hockey sticks. It feels like The Twins at St Clare's with a side of murder - While I liked Hazel as a character, Daisy drove me absolutely nuts. She's sooooo perfect, what with her blonde hair and blue eyes and being insanely smart and all the teachers loving her but hiding how smart she is so that she's still the most popular girl in school and uuuuuuugh. Add in the fact that she basically drags Hazel around after her no matter what Hazel says she wants to do ("Here, Hazel, drink half this bottle of ipecac so that we get sent to sick bay overnight and can sneak out and look for clues in between bouts of puking!"), and I pretty much wanted to punch her - Everyone conveniently ignores the fact that Hazel is Asian, and she goes to great pains to not remind them of that (her mother sends boxes of her absolute favourite snack, and she hides them in her trunk so that no one else can see her icky Asian food) - I just didn't give a shit about the case and whether or not they worked out whodunnit So yeah. I wanted to love it, I really did. And yet, it came out somewhere middle of the road for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    Murder Most Unladylike has been all over my Twitter timeline and Goodreads feed for the past… God knows how long. I kept seeing it everywhere. Everyone I talked to, whether online or in person, loved it to bits and were eagerly awaiting the next books in the series. Which, to be honest, is quite rare. I rarely come across books that literally all my bookish friends and fellow bloggers love without exception. I was intrigued. So, towards the end of my holiday earlier this month, I decided to pick Murder Most Unladylike has been all over my Twitter timeline and Goodreads feed for the past… God knows how long. I kept seeing it everywhere. Everyone I talked to, whether online or in person, loved it to bits and were eagerly awaiting the next books in the series. Which, to be honest, is quite rare. I rarely come across books that literally all my bookish friends and fellow bloggers love without exception. I was intrigued. So, towards the end of my holiday earlier this month, I decided to pick it up and see why exactly they were so crazy about the Wells and Wong duo. And now, having read the book, all I can say is: I get it. I grew up reading and watching mysteries (I think I’ve read nearly 40 of Agatha Christie’s books so far) so the fact that Stevens is a fellow Christie fan and was inspired by her work was a brilliant start already, even before I turned the first page. And then I stepped into Daisy and Hazel’s world. And what a world it is! The story is set in an English boarding school back in 1934 – not only is this the perfect setting for a murder mystery, but Stevens does a fantastic job of giving her book an authentic 30s feel and making you feel like you’re actually part of this era. Read more >>

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    Re-read. What a great Holmes-Watson style of story, especially since it takes place in a girls school in the 1930s! Stevens has a visible love for the Golden Age of Crime fiction, and the tradition of boarding school stories, and uses these to create a brilliant story with a pair a compelling leads. Hazel's voice caught me from the beginning, and although their investigation is great and expertly orchestrated by the author, I loved even more the relationship between the two girls, and how it trans Re-read. What a great Holmes-Watson style of story, especially since it takes place in a girls school in the 1930s! Stevens has a visible love for the Golden Age of Crime fiction, and the tradition of boarding school stories, and uses these to create a brilliant story with a pair a compelling leads. Hazel's voice caught me from the beginning, and although their investigation is great and expertly orchestrated by the author, I loved even more the relationship between the two girls, and how it transforms them. At first, Daisy is not very likeable, but through their shared experience, she starts to change, considering her investigating partner’s point of view, while Hazel becomes a little more confident. Can’t wait to see how Stevens develops them and what adventures they’ll be having.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)

    Delightful! This is exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Harrison

    I really enjoyed this first foray into Deepdean School for Girls. In Murder Most Unladylike, Robin Stevens has recreated everything I found so addictive, as a younger reader, about the Malory Towers and St Clere's books, but with a fresh detective twist. I loved the characters of Hazel and Daisy who team up to solve their first serious mystery together: the murder of a teacher, Miss Bell. As a 'foreign girl', Hazel's perceptions of the mad English girls waving around hockey sticks and trying to I really enjoyed this first foray into Deepdean School for Girls. In Murder Most Unladylike, Robin Stevens has recreated everything I found so addictive, as a younger reader, about the Malory Towers and St Clere's books, but with a fresh detective twist. I loved the characters of Hazel and Daisy who team up to solve their first serious mystery together: the murder of a teacher, Miss Bell. As a 'foreign girl', Hazel's perceptions of the mad English girls waving around hockey sticks and trying to kill each other are very funny, as well as the wickedly ruthless (potential sociopath?!) Daisy who persuades Hazel to go along with her daring investigation. The minor characters, too, are distinct and interesting, many of them with something to hide. I especially liked the 'bunbreak' aspect, and the girls' obsession with buns and biscuits in general. Robin Stevens' brilliant sense of humour shines through, and I was tickled enough to read aloud many of the descriptions and passages to others, once I'd stopped laughing - always the sign of a good book. This is a deftly-plotted, accomplished novel and I look forward to reading Daisy and Hazel's next case!

  23. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are students at the Deepdean School for Girls in 1934, where nothing very interesting happens. Just in case, Daisy has formed a secret detective agency with her best friend Hazel as Watson to Daisy's Sherlock Holmes. At first the only case they solve is the mystery of Lavinia's tie but they have their eye on the teachers' love lives, specifically following their handsome art teacher, known as "The One" by his devoted students. Then Hazel discovers Science Mistress and Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are students at the Deepdean School for Girls in 1934, where nothing very interesting happens. Just in case, Daisy has formed a secret detective agency with her best friend Hazel as Watson to Daisy's Sherlock Holmes. At first the only case they solve is the mystery of Lavinia's tie but they have their eye on the teachers' love lives, specifically following their handsome art teacher, known as "The One" by his devoted students. Then Hazel discovers Science Mistress and soon to be newly appointed Deputy Headmistress Miss Bell lying dead on the gymnasium floor. She runs to tell Daisy but by the time they return with an adult, the body is missing! Hazel knows what she saw was real but only Daisy believes her. Daisy and Hazel are convinced Miss Bell was pushed or fell off the balcony but who will look into the circumstances when the teachers refuse to announce Miss Bell is dead, instead clinging to a fiction that she has resigned. It sounds like a case for the Wells & Wong Detective Society! I was expecting this novel to be more fun than it was. First, the setting is not very appealing. Boarding school works in Harry Potter because it's MAGICAL boarding school. Here it does not work. Also, there are very very few period details that would clue the reader in to the time in which the book is set. I did find the mystery engaging enough to read the whole book in one night. I figured out one of the smaller mysteries but the big whodunnit eluded me until the moment the girls discovered the truth. I was very surprised as to who and why! Why was a big shocker. I thought maybe the mystery might be more interesting if Miss Bell wasn't really dead and I wasn't expecting a second murder victim! I was also surprised at some of the language in the book. The TV would rate this TV-14 for dialogue and language. I hated the American translation of all things British. It was confusing. I didn't remember the story takes place in Britain. Read the later Harry Potter books or UK edition and you will spot the difference right away, or read Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. The big thing I hated about this book was the main characters. Daisy is such a queen bee. I hated her. She was cruel to Hazel when they first met and ever after Hazel was her sidekick. Even at the end after she grows up a bit, she's still selfish. It bothered me enormously that Hazel was the secretary of a society made up of only two members. Why only two? Daisy has a talent for lying so one can never be sure if she's telling the truth or not. Hazel is a more appealing character but I didn't care for her much either. A girl from a wealthy Hong Kong ethnic Chinese family she stands out among her peers. She was desperate for a friend and had dreams of what her life at an English girls' school would be like and tried to fit herself and Daisy into that vision. She clings to Daisy's friendship long after she realizes it began rather badly. Hazel is not a very strong heroine. She gives in to Daisy constantly, follows Daisy around or follows Daisy's orders. She's a follower and not a leader and I just didn't like that quality in a heroine. I did enjoy the part where she explained her background. I was torn between 2-3 Good Reads stars. I think somewhere closer to 3 than 2 but not a full 3. I kind of liked it but not enough to want to read more about these characters. Content: Discussion of canoodling -whatever that means. Canoodling between teachers (female/female, male/female, students) Some language blood

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pris

    Would totally have DNF’ed if it wasn’t June’s pick for middle grade monthly. I really disliked everything about this book. The story was so ridiculous to me. The setting, an all girls boarding school, is my worst nightmare and those girls were absolutely horrible without ANY consequenties. Keeping the target audience in mind... kids may think this is normal behaviour and therefore the book was terrible problematic to me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bookwormandtheatremouse

    This book is a perfect mix of the classic crime fiction of Christie and the fun of the Chalet School books (a classic). This is clearly the start of a classic series that I can't wait to continue reading. Great female characters - reference to so many classic crime novels - and beautiful storytelling. This book is a perfect mix of the classic crime fiction of Christie and the fun of the Chalet School books (a classic). This is clearly the start of a classic series that I can't wait to continue reading. Great female characters - reference to so many classic crime novels - and beautiful storytelling.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kribu

    4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this. The concept of "children take it upon themselves to solve a murder" is of course hardly original, nor is the historical boarding school setting, but as with every genre story, it's all in the handling - and Murder Most Unladylike was, for me, handled with just the right mixture of clever plotting, amusing writing and a hint of serious issues (bullying, racism) being touched on just enough to keep the reader aware but without turning into a moralising lecture. As wit 4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this. The concept of "children take it upon themselves to solve a murder" is of course hardly original, nor is the historical boarding school setting, but as with every genre story, it's all in the handling - and Murder Most Unladylike was, for me, handled with just the right mixture of clever plotting, amusing writing and a hint of serious issues (bullying, racism) being touched on just enough to keep the reader aware but without turning into a moralising lecture. As with most first person books, a lot depends on the narrator's voice, and it's here that this book shined for me: the 13-year-old Hazel Wong, the Hong Kong born heroine and semi-reluctant detective, was wonderful. She felt real to me, her account of the goings-on at the boarding school both wry and mature in the sort of way that a mature 13-year-old is, capable of almost adult seriousness and awareness at times while still maintaining a youthful voice. I loved the little touches about her past and her first year experiences at Deepdean school, illustrating how a 1930s boarding school in England wasn't necessarily always a paradise (not the least to a foreign girl), but never making it sound too depressing, either. The friendship between Hazel and Daisy Wells, the blonde and blue-eyed darling of the school and President of the Detective Society (a society of two, Hazel and Daisy), also rang true to me: they're not always equal partners (if only because Daisy certainly considers herself superior - but not so much that it would have made me dislike her), but it felt a realistic description of a genuine friendship between two girls, even if one is far more popular - and a natural leader - than the other. The plot wasn't too shabby either: it's a children's book (or, I suppose, children's / the younger end of YA) so the mystery is relatively simple, but it came with enough twists and while I could work out some of what happened, I certainly didn't see everything coming - so for me, the balance was just right. As is often the case in children's books, some of the adults came off a little flat as well as caricature-ish at first, but I was glad to see several of them become rather more rounded by the end - and equally, I liked that the adults weren't depicted as utterly useless, clueless people who refuse to listen to whatever children have to say. Anyway, I don't often find children's mysteries I can enjoy fully, but I'm really looking forward to more cases for Hazel and Daisy to solve! * ARC of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thanks!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daphne (Illumicrate)

    4.5 stars If you put Nancy Drew in a boarding school, set it in the 1930s and sprinkle heavily with Sherlock references, bunbreaks and Cluedo, you’re getting close to describing the sheer charm that is Murder Most Unladylike. I absolutely adored Robin Stevens’ debut novel featuring the first case of the Wells & Wong Detective Society. As a warning, you will definitely want to read this book with a cup of tea and baked goods within arm’s reach. And if you need more to sell you on this book, there 4.5 stars If you put Nancy Drew in a boarding school, set it in the 1930s and sprinkle heavily with Sherlock references, bunbreaks and Cluedo, you’re getting close to describing the sheer charm that is Murder Most Unladylike. I absolutely adored Robin Stevens’ debut novel featuring the first case of the Wells & Wong Detective Society. As a warning, you will definitely want to read this book with a cup of tea and baked goods within arm’s reach. And if you need more to sell you on this book, there is a map (!) of the Deepdean School for Girls and a cast list up front so you can follow along as the girls try to convince everyone their teacher was murdered and also solve the whodunit. Plus, the cover is gorgeously blue with striking graphics and typography and would look great on your shelves. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I love this book so much but everything about it is simply lovely. The main girls are wonderfully likable and memorable... For more, see full review published at Winged Reviews

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma Rose Ribbons

    I'd like to add some thoughts after rereading this book. As much as I enjoyed it this time around, I think that I would have liked a little more humour and fun and overall silliness, which I really missed, especially because I think there were plenty of opportunites for that. I'm also not too fond of the resolution because it should have been the girls' detective work throughout. Bringing a professional detective at the end may be realistic, it's a little too much to ask of me to like him when a I'd like to add some thoughts after rereading this book. As much as I enjoyed it this time around, I think that I would have liked a little more humour and fun and overall silliness, which I really missed, especially because I think there were plenty of opportunites for that. I'm also not too fond of the resolution because it should have been the girls' detective work throughout. Bringing a professional detective at the end may be realistic, it's a little too much to ask of me to like him when all along girls did the work and he's reaping the rewards. Bottom line: this was a good read with heaps of things to enjoy but I'm also happy it's the first in a series because there's also loads of other things to do with it. This was my original review: CORGI HERE'S A MESSAGE FOR YOU: DON'T YOU DARE NOT PUBLISH THE MANY MANY MANY BOOKS THIS SERIES IS LIKELY TO CONTAIN. THIS WAS TOO DELIGHTFUL AND TOO MUCH WHAT I NEED IN MY LIFE AND TOO MUCH THE BOOK I WISH I'D WRITTEN. SCHOOL MYSTERIES ARE MY DRUG. I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN, CORGI. NO, SERIOUSLY, I WILL! I KNOW YOU'RE READING THIS. THANK YOU ❤

  29. 5 out of 5

    Candace

    This was delightful! Hazel and Daisy are such lovable characters. I didn’t want to put this down and I will definitely be proceeding with the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rheanna

    When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong start a detective society, they never expect to have a real case, that is until Hazel finds the dead body of their former science teacher, Ms. Bell lying on the gym floor. What I liked about this book: The mystery was well-developed, complex, and took a variety of twists and turns. The friendship dynamic between Daisy and Hazel was interesting and realistic. The main and secondary characters had unique personalities and were all interesting in their own way. The writi When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong start a detective society, they never expect to have a real case, that is until Hazel finds the dead body of their former science teacher, Ms. Bell lying on the gym floor. What I liked about this book: The mystery was well-developed, complex, and took a variety of twists and turns. The friendship dynamic between Daisy and Hazel was interesting and realistic. The main and secondary characters had unique personalities and were all interesting in their own way. The writing style was simple and accessible but witty and interesting at the same time. What I didn’t like about this book: Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like was that the book had been Americanized in the edition I read so I think I missed some of the subtleties of the writing and setting.

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